Jeff Atherton (9/30/2013)
Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services from WROX publishing (by Paul Turley and several others) is what I ended up getting and so far its been a very good book. There are some gaps (missing details or info with regards to steps when you are suppose to follow along) but nothing to detract from recomending it.
I have a much better understanding of SSRS now in general. I believe what far too many pro-SSRS people adress is the massive (yes I mean massive) differences between traditonal "banded" reporting (used by products like Crystal Reports and even MS Access ) and this object oriented reporting embraced by SSRS. I may be wrong and maybe object oriented reporting is very popular outside of SSRS but I had never heard of it prior to SSRS.
Thanks for the update. I have extensive background/experience in Crystal Reports and I'm just now getting into SSRS. I'll check out that book. But just from poking around SSRS it seems weaker than Crystal. Just trying to move a column over to the left or right is a major undertaking and shouldn't be.
As you read the below please keep in mind that I use to be a fan of SSRS.
In the beginning I wanted very much to embrace SSRS; that was when I had only read about SSRS and had not yet tried to actually create a report using SSRS.
SSRS has gotten better with each new version but after 3 major revisions the thing still does not allow for some of the most basic of report writing needs such as repeating group headers on multiple pages. The option to do that is in SSRS it simply does not work. Trying to move around fields/columns in your SSRS report is just the start. Wait till you get to grouping and try to expand the group by either adding an outer/parent group.
With the exception of when I first learned about windows computing (back during Windows 95 ) I can safely say I’ve spent more time and effort trying to learn SSRS then any other new technology. After spending this much time with SSRS I believe I can say with confidence that Reporting Services is not a replacement or even a substitute for traditional custom reporting tools like Crystal Reports. I believe SSRS is a traditional developer lead technology that was created by developers for developers as an alternative to the traditional “banded” style/method of custom report development. Developers wanted a fast an easy way to create custom reports, something that with drag and drop alone they could build basic reports quickly. SSRS meets these 2 needs, ease of use and rapid development, thru the sacrifice of a WYSIWYG development environment and the restriction of development to a spreadsheet like interface.
SSRS works by using what it calls data regions. Data Regions are like mini spreadsheets that create a report via rows and columns. SSRS data regions consist of the tablix, a list and a table. The table is just that, a table or spreadsheet consisting of rows and columns. A tablix is a table that has built in aggregation/pivot capabilities. Think of a pivot table in an excel spreadsheet and you get the idea of a tablix; at least that’s my understanding of the tablix. A list is (I think) meant to be a free form data region. A list is the SSRS version of the DETAIL section in a Crystal Reports report.
So in Crystal you have bands or sections and in SSRS you have data regions. There are a few pluses to SRS when it comes to dynamically expanding columns (via tablix and pivot like functionality) but aside from that the older Crystal Reports and the banded style of report development are superior. If SSRS was pay per use and not free with SQL Server I doubt it would have lasted beyond version2, version 3.0 at the most.
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